February 23, 2024
Avoiding Burnout and Having Fun in CrossFit and Life

“And that mental break is really important, too. … You have to sprinkle in some fun. You have to sprinkle in some things that make you feel good, otherwise you’re going to hate your life. You’re going to hate exercise and that’s going to fuel the dislike of health and fitness which is not the goal of CrossFit at all. It’s the opposite goal.”

Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and/or YouTube.


Three-time CrossFit Games athlete Shelby Neal joins the “More Than Fitness” podcast with Adrian Conway to recount her experience at her individual Games debut and share her perspective on avoiding burnout in CrossFit. 


A former gymnast, Neal started CrossFit when she was 14 and was hooked. She qualified for the CrossFit Games in the Girls 16-17 division twice (2016-2017) and made her individual Games appearance in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2023, after placing ninth at the North America East Semifinal. 

In today’s episode, Neal describes her mindset and training ahead of last year’s Semifinals, and explains how refining movement technique and preventing game-day anxiety through practice helped her achieve her goal of qualifying for the Games. 

She reflects on her experience at the finals, where she finished as the 19th fittest woman in the world as an individual rookie, and details how she’s been able to avoid burnout in CrossFit, despite starting at a young age. 

Tune in to learn how Neal balances her full-time career as an orthopedic engineer and CrossFit athlete, why taking breaks and managing expectations is essential for growth, and how she came to work with Games perennial Brent Fikowski.

Stay until the end to hear Neal’s most memorable Open workout and why fitness should be fun.


Follow Neal on Instagram here.

Sign up for the 2024 CrossFit Open here.



Coaching Everyday Athletes and the Fittest Man on Earth

Jason Grubb — Your Best Years Are Ahead of You

James Sprague — From Teen to Individual Games Athlete

Bethany Flores — Identity, Scaling, and Growth

2024 Season Update: Age-Group and Adaptive Expansion

CrossFit Games Highlights 2023